January 30, 2012 by Steven Castle
Home control company Control4’s new video touchscreen with intercom capabilities is now available. The company is also now shipping its new flagship HC-800 processor.
The 7-inch Portable Touch Screen with Camera can be a portable or tabletop solution for use on a countertop, desk, end-table or nightstand. It’s a capacitive touchscreen that supports Wireless-N and Ethernet connectivity, and is powered either by Power over Ethernet (PoE) or AC. The Portable enables video intercom interoperability with other Control4 video intercom-capable products, and audio intercom compatibility with the current 5- and 7-inch In-Wall Touch Screens. An in-wall touchscreen with camera will be released in the second quarter.
The integrated camera in the Portable delivers H.264 full-motion video compression, while with built-in speakers and dual microphones utilizing beamforming and wideband audio to deliver a high-fidelity experience. In beamforming, the use of multiple mics can help reduce interference and focus in on who is talking.
In a brief demo at the recent CES show, the Portable worked well communicating with another intercom on Control4’s system as I walked down a hall.
The Portable costs $999, with the intercom license being $399, and it is available through Control4 dealers.
So in this day of the iPad home control, is a $1,000 touchscreen such as this really worth it? “People love to demo the iPad, but there’s nothing like having a dedicated device,” says Control4 President and CEO Martin Plaehn. Video intercom capability certainly adds some value to a dedicated system touchscreen.
In addition, a $799 Door Station with a wide-angle camera, beamforming capability with mics and speakers and Wi-Fi and PoE or AC will be available in the second quarter, though the backbox is available now for installation purposes. The Door Station Station includes two contact sensors and one relay for monitoring as well as opening doors and gates. It comes in satin nickel, satin black and Venetian bronze,
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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